Archive for the ‘Sugar Snaps and Strawberries’ Category


Stuff a stocking with Sugar Snaps and Strawberries

Looking for the perfect gift for everyone on your list? I have just the thing.

Use Sugar Snaps and Strawberries: Simple Solutions for Creating Your Own Small-Space Edible Garden as your inspiration and “cornerstone” gift. Of course the book (and by extension, you!) will be adored and appreciated all on its own, but you could take it a step further and personalize it with one or more of the following tokens to really make hearts swell.

Here’s the formula: Sugar Snaps and Strawberries + personal token = holiday bliss.

Sugar Snaps and Strawberries was written with the novice gardener in mind. It’s perfect for those who are interested in trying their hand at growing their own herbs, fruits, or vegetables (and, frankly, these days, who isn’t?) or anyone who’d like some winter eye candy. But it’s not just for gardeners. It’s for food lovers, entertainers, the health- and eco-conscious…guys, gals, young and old. Pair it with…

For new or aspiring gardeners


  • A high-quality hand tool like the Cobrahead weeder and cultivator: a great, multi-purpose hand tool that I use for nearly all my garden tasks (digging, planting, weeding) and is built to last.
  • A colourful pair of gardening gloves. Some people go for leather, but I prefer flexible nitrile for the West Coast’s wet soil. Atlas is my preferred brand—cheap and cheerful!
  • Plant labels. Essential for marking rows and containers.

I love the idea of packaging these items together with a few packets of vegetable seeds in a cute little gardening trug or harvest basket.

For the eco-conscious


  • A compost keeper to hold kitchen scraps – odorlessly – until it’s time for the trip to the compost bin.
  • Reusable hemp produce bags to store garden- or farmer’s market-fresh produce.
  • A bat house. For our mosquito-eating friends.

For the dude


For the design-savvy


For the hostess


For the foodie


For the health-conscious

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A wearable planter

It’s been a little quiet here at Heavy Petal, which is pretty much the opposite of the rest of my life right now. Where have I been? Not in the garden, that’s for sure! But I have been having fun promoting my book all over the Pacific Northwest. I spoke in Seattle at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show, which was great fun. Then I spoke at Powell’s Books in Portland, which was so exciting (Sugar Snaps was in the front window!) and showed the host of AM Northwest how to make seed balls. Then I headed to Eugene to speak at the Lane County Home and Garden Show, which was a total blast. I’ve got other upcoming events as well.

All this to show you the wearable planter my husband got me as a “happy book tour” gift. I’m using it more like a vase, but it could also be planted up. Looks like ceramic, right? Guess what? It’s resin – painted and finished by hand.

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Free seed starting and succession planting tools

Sugar Snaps screenshot

Normally by this time of year I’d have seedlings sprouting underneath florescent tube lights, and early crops like peas, broad beans, and radishes already tucked into the cool earth. This year, I’m sorry to say, I haven’t ventured into the garden except to refill the bird feeder or hurriedly clip some thyme. Instead, I’ve been busy thinking about gardening, and preparing to talk about gardening at various upcoming events relating to Sugar Snaps and Strawberries. That’s right: I’m going on a book tour! I’ll be in Vancouver, Victoria, Seattle, Portland, Eugene, San Francisco, and Los Angeles over the next few months, so come out and say “hi!” [Check out my events schedule for details. Some dates/cities still TBD.]

But in the meantime, have you started your spring garden planning yet? If not, check out these nifty planning tools on the lovely new site created for all things Sugar Snaps and Strawberries: a seed starting planning chart and a planting planning (or succession planning) chart for you to download, free! There’s also a pretty seed packet pattern for you to use later in the season.

Need some guidance on spring garden planning? Check out this post about how went from slacker to serious planner.

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Win a Sugar Snaps and Strawberries garden starter kit

Sugar Snaps Cover

It’s January 2011 and my book, Sugar Snaps and Strawberries, is officially out. It’s been available in American bookstores for over a month now so this isn’t exactly breaking news, but copies are just now appearing on Canadian shelves. Combine that with the amazing reviews that are starting to pour in and the fact that my publisher, Timber Press, calls January 2011 the book release date, and this is all starting to feel really…real.

To celebrate the book’s official launch, Timber Press (in partnership with Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds and Garden Fever) is hosting a contest to win a terrific garden starter kit: we’re talking everything you need to kick your garden into gear.

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Sugar Snaps and Strawberries has arrived!

The book arrives!

After months—nay, years—of anticipation, plus blood, sweat, and tears (though fewer than those who know me might expect), I’m thrilled to announce that Sugar Snaps and Strawberries has arrived! (Wow, that was a little like a birth announcement. Coincidence? I think not.) My advance copy (just one!) came via the slowest courier ever, and arrived while I was off at work. I will admit that I was not the most focused employee this afternoon, thinking about the package that awaited me at home. And then I was home, and the package was in my hands. And yet somehow, I couldn’t open it.  I’d imagined that moment for a long, long time, and I wanted to savour it. Preferably along with something alcoholic. But dinner was on the stove and I had a toddler bashing her plasma car into my shins. So I waited. We ate dinner (the package seated alongside us). I almost held out until Lila was in bed, but at some point I said something along the lines of, “screw it,” and tore into the package.

Sugar Snaps - title page

It’s a funny thing, getting what you want. This thing—writing a book—has been on my bucket list since I was an angsty teen (I imagined myself more of a Sylvia Plath or Anais Nin than a garden writer, but heck, I’ll take it). Holding that book—my book—in my hands was a totally surreal moment. As my friend Dave says, nothing is ever as good or as bad as you think it will be. And so it was. The book seemed physically smaller than I’d expected. But somehow bigger with the weight of all the expectations I have for it, the work and love and time that went into it, and just the bigness of it all. I wrote an f*ing book. Allow me to be amazed for a moment, friends.

Sugar Snaps - dedication and table of contents

And there’s so much fear that comes along with it, too. What if there’s an error? What if someone doesn’t like it? It’s so much scarier than hitting “publish” on a blog post. This thing is in print. I am both thrilled and terrified to be sharing it with you all.

Sugar Snaps - spine and cover

Like I said, it was a bit of a surreal moment. I looked at every page. Stuck my nose in and inhaled the ink. Was satisfied. Then I put the book down, saw the spine, and screamed. My husband, thinking I’d spotted a mistake, looks like he might be getting ready to dash our child to safety. Then I explain: “Bellamy! My name is on the spine of a book!” I don’t know why, but that suddenly made everything real, and worth it. I can’t wait to look myself up at the library.

Sugar Snaps - inside spread

Sugar Snaps and Strawberries: Simple Solutions for Creating Your Own Small-Space Edible Garden features stunning photographs by the uber-talented Jackie Connelly, and is published by the fabulous Timber Press. I owe them huge gratitude, as I do you, my loyal readers. Thank you for being here.

Inside spread

Sugar Snaps and Strawberries will be hitting shelves within the next month. If you want to get your copy faster, please pre-order from Amazon.ca or Amazon.com.

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World, please meet Sugar Snaps and Strawberries

Sugar Snaps and Strawberries

I am thrilled to officially introduce my book, Sugar Snaps and Strawberries: Simple Solutions for Creating Your Own Small-Space Edible Garden.

This book has been a long time in the making, and I’m not even talking about the years spent learning how to grow edibles, or garden organically (or how to string a coherent sentence together, for that matter). It feels like forever since the idea for Sugar Snaps germinated, ’til now, when I can finally share it with you.

It all started when I was a few days overdue with my daughter: around mid-April 2008. I got an email from Juree Sondker, an acquiring editor at Timber Press. For those of you not familiar with Timber, it is the garden book publisher – they’ve created many of the world’s top-selling books on gardening, horticulture, sustainability, and the Pacific Northwest. The authors they publish are accomplished, brilliant, and well respected. So what did they want with me?

They wanted to know if I’d ever considered writing a book.

After I stopped shrieking and doing exuberant high kicks (not an easy feat when you’re 41 weeks pregnant, I assure you), I responded. I wrote something to the effect of, “I’ve always wanted to write a book, however, I’m just about to pop out a kid. Can I get back to you when I determine the extent to which my life is about to totally change?” But I was already writing that book in my head.

It’s true: I have always wanted to write a book. It’s been number one on my life list for years. In fact, there’s a mortifying video floating around out there (thankfully on VHS) taken on the night of my high school graduation. The videographer asked everyone to say where they were going to be in 10 years, and I said something about living in a VW van and creating world peace. I KNOW. And I was completely sober. But I also said I was going to write a book. And now, just a few years later (ha!) I can check that off my list. Done.

After that initial contact with Juree, I spent my entire year’s mat leave (yep, that’s one full year of paid leave. God bless Canada) working on a proposal for the book, which I called Homegrown. Now, a little after a year later, the book is written, the photographs are taken, and I’m looking at page proofs of the most beautiful veggie gardening book ever. Seriously, this thing is gorgeous.

I do want to talk about how this book actually got written, but this post too long already. Soon, I’ll show you sneak peeks at some of the inside pages, and let you see some of Jackie Connelly‘s amazing photos. They are truly stunning.

Unfortunately, there’s still a bit of a wait until the book actually comes out (in late December 2010). But it is available for pre-order on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca, which is wild, and also nerve wracking (people are actually going to read this!?) Of course, I’d love if it you did.

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Please join Heavy Petal on Facebook

Hello friends! Just wanted to point you toward my new Heavy Petal Facebook page. Please “like” Heavy Petal and I’ll alert you to new blog posts, offer contests and giveaways, share interesting links and new garden-related finds, and keep you updated on my forthcoming book. That’s it! End of pitch.
facebook button

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The big reveal: announcing The Book

sneak peek at book photography

Posts were few and far between on Heavy Petal in 2009, and if you’re still reading, I’m grateful (and a little surprised!).

I was busy writing a book.

There, I said it. I’ve been afraid to mention it here in case I jinxed it, but I’m forcing myself to do it now. Kind of a start-the-new-year-off-with-a-bang thing.

The book is about gardening, of course. About growing organic edibles in small spaces, to be specific. I can’t give you a title, yet, but I can tell you this: the publisher is Timber Press, and it’s coming out in the fall.

Despite the neglected blog (you should see my home! Thank goodness my husband picked up the slack in the child rearing department), the days (and nights) spent hunched over my computer, poring over books, and attending photo shoots were (almost) entirely enjoyable.

I feel so incredibly grateful that I had the opportunity to write this book. To write about things I am passionate about. To be able to share, beyond this blog, my experience in growing food in the tiniest of spaces; on balconies, rooftops, and patios; in community garden plots, back alleys, and in all the rented apartments I’ve moved plants in and out of. I feel so lucky that my publisher saw something in this blog and asked me if I’d be into writing a book (my answer? Hell yes). I am grateful that they liked my ideas and believed in my vision for the book.

I’d like to thank all of you, my readers, for helping to make this happen. For the community created here, and for the endless inspiration you all provide. I couldn’t have done it without you. Oh, and, now that the manuscript is in the publisher’s hands, I promise I’ll have more time for Heavy Petal. Stay tuned. And have a fabulous 2010.

Photo credit: Jackie Connelly Photography. I am so fortunate that I was able to work with the fabulous Jackie Connelly on this project. Here’s a sneak peek at just one of the beautiful photographs appearing in the book.

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